No Washington cases of salmonella from recalled ground turkey

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

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No cases of salmonella Heidelberg associated with the recalled ground turkey products have been reported in Washington state.

Though there are no cases in the state, the recalled products were distributed to some retailers in Washington. The affected products should be returned to the store or thrown away.

Thoroughly cooking and safely handling and preparing meat and poultry will kill bacteria like salmonella Heidelberg, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

Salmonellosis is a common illness in Washington, with 600-800 cases reported annual, according to the health department. There are more than 2,000 strains of the bacteria.

Tips to prevent foodborne illness are available on the state health department website.

Key tips include cooking meats to the appropriate temperature (165 degrees Fahrenheit for whole or ground poultry); keep raw meats separate from other foods; wash hands before preparing food and after handling raw meats and poultry; and thoroughly clean cutting surfaces and utensils after meat and poultry preparation.

Fruits and vegetables can also be a source of bacteria. All produce should be rinsed in a clean sink. The rind on melons should be scrubbed during washing.

Food should not be left sitting out to cool down; refrigerate immediately in uncovered containers until the food is below 45 degrees.

Cargill Value Added Meats Retail voluntarily recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey products. The recall includes products distributed to Walmart and WinCo in Washington.

Consumers who have the recalled products are advised to return any unused portion, opened or unopened, to the stores where they were purchased.